When people of a certain age reminisce about their childhoods, it usually isn’t long before they start singing a theme song or two. Or three. Or seven …
It’s a known fact that theme songs in the 80s and early 90s were out-of-this-world good, and cartoons had some of the very best. Some cartoon themes seem to be remembered by everyone. DuckTales, for example. Or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (And go ahead and throw Animaniacs in the mix if you want to get a little more recent.)
But some classic cartoon theme songs from that same time period haven’t had the same lasting legacy. And it’s just not fair.
Here are five 80s cartoon themes that don’t get enough love these days …
- The World of David the Gnome (1987)
Some songs on this list have a catchy beginning or a catchy chorus. Maybe it’s a specific line or instrument that stands out. But this one right here is something else entirely; it’s pure pop perfection. In fact, I feel confident saying The World of David the Gnome had one of the best TV themes ever, of any style or era.
The show itself? It’s about this gnome, his wife, and a fox, I guess. I’m not going to pretend I remember much else about this show, because I really don’t. I know there were trolls, because they’re in this video. I know there were fish who could sing, because the song tell me so. But that’s really about it. You don’t need to know anything else, though. Just click the button and feel yourself become a better person by listening to it.
(Did you know David the Gnome dies and turns into a tree at the end of this show? Because he does! While I was looking for the this opening theme video, I found a second video that shows the end of the final episode. It’s like they brought David Lynch in to direct or something …)
- Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985-1991)
Yep, they made a cartoon about gummy bears. What’s important, though, is that they gave one of the catchiest themes you’ll ever hear. The very beginning and verses aren’t even all that special, but then the chorus—oh, that glorious chorus—kicks in, and we’re off to the races.
Hearing a grown man sing, “We are the gummi bears!” at the top of his lungs is something everyone should experience at least once in their life.
- Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies (1984-1991)
Make sure you take note of Kermit’s opening line. “When your world looks kind of weird and you wish that you weren’t there / Just close your eyes and make believe, and you can be anywhere” is some straight-up magical inspiration from a baby frog.
Other than that, though, there’s really nothing all that special about this theme song for its first 51 seconds. That closing billion-part harmony, though, is an absolute treasure.
Here, I’ve isolated it for you. Listen again and try to tell me I’m wrong …
Couldn’t you just listen to that on loop for hours at a time?
- Denver the Last Dinosaur (1988)
OK, so I only remember two things about this actual show itself: the kids had over-the-top California accents, and Denver—you know, the dinosaur?—would put on sunglasses and walk around outside like it was no big deal.
But I could never forget that glorious theme song. I love how it kicks off with a distorted lead guitar and then someone counts it off like they’re supposed to be some tight garage band or something. Then the actual song starts, and it’s this corny, sugar-coated schlock that was probably played by a bunch of crying studio musicians at gunpoint.
This song is so bad in so many ways that it’s actually pretty amazing. And once you hear it, it will never leave your brain. Earworm? No, friends, this is an ear jackhammer, and it’s out for blood.
- Dinosaucers (1987-1988)
Nobody else seems to remember this show. “Remember that Dinosaucers show?” I’ll ask. “The one with the morphing, talking dinosaurs?” Silence. Nothing but cold, confused silence.
I remember Dinosaucers, though. And I remember it’s goofy theme song, which was nothing but a few spoken words that describe the plot and a random bro singing the name of the show over and over again.
This show gave kids the basic plot of Transformers, but with random dinosaurs replacing random vehicles. It was not a good show. But it existed, and its theme song will never stop haunting me.
Diiiiii-no-saaaaaaw-ceeeeeeers / doo-doo-do-doooooo / doo-doo-do-doooooo / doo-doo / Diiiiii-no-saaaaaaw-ceeeeeeers / doo-doo-do-doooooo / doo-doo-do-doooooo / doo-doo